Krakul, an Estonian developer of IoT and autonomous systems, and Aerones, a Latvian company specialising in wind turbine maintenance robots, are partnering to develop a new prototype device. It will detect open circuits in wind turbine lightning protection systems, making repairs easier and more timely.
From competing to collaborating
Krakul and Aerones’ partnership emerged from the competition, where they were among 12 projects to receive funding from a pool of 61 European consortia “Krakul’s engineering team impressed us, especially with their work on the ESTCube-1 Estonian satellite project,” commented Lauma Blūmentāle, Aerones’ project manager.
For Krakul, the decision to join was straightforward. “Aerones is an exciting company in an important sector, and the work is intriguing for our engineers,” added Kristjan Tozen, CEO of Krakul. The company also has a strong record of successful partnerships on innovative designs. Last year, Krakul completed a pre-production prototype of a tech layer that helps top athletes prevent injuries.
The Estonian-Latvian joint project aims to develop a device capable of detecting open circuits in lightning protection systems with 500 mm accuracy using radio communication technology. The completed prototype will be tested, validated, and demonstrated in a working environment, enabling efficient repair of wind turbine rotor blades and potentially benefiting other industries using lightning protection systems.
Krakul’s role in the project involves preparing the prototype’s test plan, conducting accuracy tests for fault detection, and ensuring compliance with European Union standards. The project is expected to conclude by June 2024.
“The new solution will not only strengthen Aerones’ position in the field but will also allow them to cover an even broader spectrum of tasks in wind turbine maintenance,” said Tozen.
Advancing wind adoption
This development is funded by a €80,000 grant from the European Union’s “Silicon Eurocluster” project. With the goal of strengthening micro- and nanoelectronics sectors in Europe, the “Silicon Eurocluster” initiative aims to promote environmentally friendly, sustainable, and digital solutions.
Both Latvian and Estonian teams are optimistic about future collaborations. Blūmentāle found the partnership with Krakul’s development team very productive and is open to future joint projects. Tozen echoes this sentiment, adding, “Continuous innovation is in the DNA of both companies. I believe we can support Aerones with our engineering expertise in future projects as well.”
Estonia, as one of the leading country in Europe when it comes to energy transition, is also dedicated to advance the wind energy sector. The country isn’t always shy to put out ambitious goals: Estonia aims to achieve a 100% green energy goal by 2030, by gaining electricity largely from onshore wind farms. The country already has enough wind farm projects in progress on private and state land to meet this goal, according to the Environment Agency’s analysis. Currently, Estonia’s installed wind energy capacity is around 359 MW, with an additional 325 MW under construction and slated for completion next year, writes Baltic Times.
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